Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 93
Shine Cloth Diapers with owner Deja
Let’s meet Deja, the owner of Shine Cloth, as she emerges into 2022 with new products for you to enjoy. But first, we must get to know the story of Shine Cloth and where she has come, and where she is going. This is a must-listen episode, it is long!
Bailey Bouwman 00:00
Welcome to show 93 of the cloth diaper podcast. Today’s episode is with Deja, the owner of shine diapers. But before we get started, I want to warn you. Today’s episode is long. I usually try to keep these to about 2030 35 minutes. But Deja was amazing. And sometimes I try to split it. But I have a lot of great content coming to you in 2022. We can’t risk splitting the show
Bailey Bouwman 00:35
Welcome back to the cloth diaper podcast, a somewhat regular show dedicated to sharing stories of cloth diapering from parents, brands and retailers around the world. My name is Bailey and I am not nearly as famous as today’s guest. I want to keep this interest short because this is a long episode.
Bailey Bouwman 00:53
And this episode also, I almost forgot to record and I had to dig into the archives to find the recording because it got lost. So the recording might not be as clean edited. But Deja story is beautiful. She is wonderful. And wow, what an honor to sit down with this remarkable woman and her journey from free diapers to making her own diapers to buying diapers. And just that entire story. Why shouldn’t spoil it? Let’s go listen.
Bailey Bouwman 01:28
today’s podcast is brought to you by my Black Friday sponsors. Thank you to the life life, little Fanny pants and bungees diapers for their ongoing support of the cloth diaper podcast. It’s through their sponsorship and app purchases, that we can continue to run the podcast. And I can make the time to do these recordings. So thank you so much for your continued sponsorship. And I look forward to working with new brands this Earth Day 2022 and data you have been in the industry for a good time. You’ve had some ups and downs.
Bailey Bouwman 02:03
And you’re really on a good up right now talk to me about I think we should start with your story about why cloth diapering was a great choice for you and how you discover cloth diapering. I think that’s a great story that I’ve kind of picked up parts of so we should start there.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 02:18
Yeah, well, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to talk to you. And yeah, my son, and I had him when I was 19. So I was young mom and I really had my village like, around me with a lot of support.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 02:35
So I received a ton of disposable diapers at my baby shower. And my use them I didn’t have to buy a single diaper, and to my eight months old. And so that was really, really nice. Because you know, when you’re younger, and I was in school, um, the budget is always tight. I also was on Section eight at the time and count words and food stamps. So money for me at the time was something that was limited as a resource. And so I was grateful because I had all these disposable diapers until they ran out.
Bailey Bouwman 03:17
What an incredible blessing though, that your community came together for eight months.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 03:24
Oh, yeah, I first. Oh, yeah, that is amazing, but probably a little bit of a shock. When they ran out. When they ran out. It was just like, oh, I had time to like start stocking up. I don’t have time to start stocking up. And then the time is gone. And I just so happened to get a sample in the mail. This was in 2010. So pampers Dry Max was the new technology. And that was the sample that I received in the mail. And it was just like this new and improved super dry, blah, blah.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 04:00
And I was just like, Whoa, yeah, let me try it. And my son got a chemical burn. Oh, no. Yes. And it wasn’t a major one. It was minor, but it was enough for me to say there’s something not right about this situation. And, um, I was always thinking it was pretty common, actually, now that you’re saying 2010 I remember there being a lot of complaints when I kind of first came on to the industry as well. Yeah. And I just was like, Ah, okay. There has to be another solution. So I was considered the hippie, quote, unquote, of my family.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 04:37
I breastfed and was very adamant about breastfeeding. And so I was like, there has to be a solution. I remember asking in a mom group what the solution could be. And somebody brought up cloth diapers and I was just like, Okay, I’ll try one. And so my one was the G diaper, which I call the gateway cloth diaper.because it seems like a lot of people started with the G diaper in that time era.
Bailey Bouwman 05:05
Oh, yeah. Especially 2010. Yeah, g diaper because I mean, they’re not they’re not selling their diaper their cloth line anymore. But they were very big and 20 ten.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 05:17
Yeah. And so I tried when I got it from babies, Iris, I had a coupon. And that is why it was the selection. I didn’t know about the online market yet.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 05:29
But I tried it. I tried to one with
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 05:33
the little inserts that they had. And then I saw that those weren’t too good. So I wrapped them in burp clothes because that’s what I was nice to you. And I was like, Okay, I think that I could do this, and I like, dove into the cloth diapering world. And the rest is history.
Bailey Bouwman 05:54
The rest is history. I mean, a G diaper story could have gone either way. Because sometimes people will try a G diaper and be like, Oh my gosh, this is not for me, I’m never gonna even look at options. Let’s not go forward. But cloth diapering for you was really an important way to with the budget and reducing costs. And all of kind of that. Did you have a new ad? No friend say that cloth diaper?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 06:20
Um I had none
Bailey Bouwman 06:22
2010 in the black community, probably. So you decided to one day start a brand? Where did that? When did that happen? How did that happen? Is that just a natural progression of being like, Hold on, I could do this better.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 06:37
It more or less was me getting into the work at home mom, like diaper industry. And so you know, naturally I went straight for the Alpha baby type of diapers. That was the first stash that I bought. And at the time, some baby diapers and new ones I think were the brand that
Bailey Bouwman 07:04
I know so many old school days old school.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 07:09
And they were pocket cloth diapers , and I fell in love. And then of course, I saw my first work at home on mom diaper. And I was just like, Whoa, what is this magical world of customization because that was huge. It was like, I couldn’t get anything on a diaper. Like that was like my reaction. And chelory was like the big brand on the block and so, and ragababe. And so, um, I got a few of those she used in through their second sales. And once I saw the diapers at home in my hands, I was kind of I kind of demystify the whole process because I’m like, oh, there’s people who make these. And so I went and I took a search. And you know, when you cloth diaper and you get on a cloth diaper tangent, like research tangent, you could be up till three in the morning looking at things and I remember being feverish for like, where are the black work at home moms?
Bailey Bouwman 08:18
what are we talking like? 2012?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 08:21
Yeah, like early 2011. So
Bailey Bouwman 08:25
ah, did th ey exist?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 08:28
There was one, her name was Nova. She doesn’t make diapers anymore, which I’m sad about, but I have no idea where she is. But her diaper mine was called gorilla flush. And she for her city cloth diapers and her rainbow covers. That’s what she was known for. She was really, really popular in the hyena cart days.
Bailey Bouwman 08:50
Oh, like people are gonna be listening to this podcasts. And if you weren’t around, like I came in around 2015. So some of these names were still kind of popular. But like if you’ve just entered the cloth diaper scene, Deja is just throw it out some like some original founding day conversations hyena cart. I mean, I saw hyena cart is still kind of alive. So
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 09:15
he seems to be re resurrecting. I don’t know, I mean,
Bailey Bouwman 09:21
because so you can just be kind of a frustrating platform. But owning your own website is like, expensive when you’re doing e commerce and so it’s like finding alternatives and be really hard. So you got gorilla fluff, kind of a little inspired there by Nova and you decided Did you have any sewing skills? Deja?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 09:40
I’m very basic. I can sew in a straight line and I used to make Barbie clothes out of paper towels.
Bailey Bouwman 09:48
You got it gir. Oh girl. You got it.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 09:52
So um very minimal. And so I hit YouTube University and I looked for everything I could find about sewing cloth diapers, and I watched it incessantly,
Bailey Bouwman 10:05
you and everybody else, Heather from Lilly & Frank. So the exact same thing. It was that’s what that’s how people are learning. Guys, if you’re thinking about starting your own brand, nobody is going to like a school. They are literally just hitting up YouTube. Right?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 10:19
Yeah. And unfortunately, you know, when you, when you when you go down this path, if anybody is listening, and you’re like, I want to be a work at home, mom, but it doesn’t seem like people are very forthcoming with the information, they typically aren’t. And that’s one of the unfortunate parts about the work at home mom world. And something that I experienced was there were so many roadblocks and gateways, and like levels of like, clicks that you had to get through to, like, get this information. And now it’s more readily available. Now. Of course, it’s changing when Yeah, but it is one of those things where you’re going to have to just search in search and search. And blogs and YouTube are your best best friend.
Bailey Bouwman 11:08
There’s so much information out there. I mean, you talked about a rabbit hole until 3am. And I have been in my own this week on different topics. The internet is incredibly fast.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 11:20
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And so that’s basically what I did. And I waited until Black Friday. And I bought my first Sunday sewing machine from Walmart. It cost me $72. And I asked my mom and anyway can ask for old pillowcases and sheets, and anything I could practice on, and our practice and our practice. And I practice and I practice some more, until I made something that looks remotely similar to a diaper.
Bailey Bouwman 11:58
I mean, I took a few sewing classes in school and my mom was a pretty decent Sower. And I remember being like, Oh yeah, I can do this. No, I could not that first diaper that I sewed that I was like, Huh, you know what my husband, we can do this, we can just buy a purse. So it’s it’s not easy.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 12:18
It’s step intensive. And I think that that is the part that anybody who wants to so period is just take it step by step in. So I was like, Okay, I’m going to do this and I bought fabric from NC at the time was where you could get a lot of sewing cloth diaper fabric, and I started sewing for J. Jaylen, which is my son. And he was my first tester, baby, of course. And when I started to post, and this was just like me doing something that I enjoy doing. I, when I went in, I saw the lack of representation, I saw that it could be a possibility of me getting into this lane. But I really truly fell in love with the process of like, creating something unique for my child. And so I just created this album on my Facebook page, my personal Facebook page, and I made diapers. And as I progressed, I just posted the photos and people were like, Oh, you’re getting so good. You’re getting so good, until I started getting requests for baby shower gifts. And people need to like actually make cloth diaper covers for like photoshoots or like baby shower gifts. Um, and so that is where I got my first start. And I started to think, hey, maybe this could be something. Yeah,
Bailey Bouwman 13:49
I and that is how long of a start and what a great story of learning and kind of getting through that. And now what you have 10 years and you’re still sewing. Yeah. Have you had any more babies? Stasia Are you just have the one? No, just the one, just the one. So he’s what 10 Now,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 14:11
Bailey Bouwman 14:13
he’s 11 and you are still an incredibly passionate leader in this community. What why is that?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 14:20
I really think that when you find a space in which you can be yourself and you connect with people around you and you don’t have to explain yourself or like feel judged or like the hippie or the strange person. When you find home which is what I found amongst my brand in my community is home like idea and my customers and we laugh and joke all day long. When you find that it makes it easy to stay and think that, you know, I’ve had a fair share of ups and downs in the industry. And still, you know, even in those lows, it was the cloth diapering community in the, in the souls that I had met there and the people that I had connected with that, like, truly have my back and rode through those seasons with me. And so it makes it easy to show up, it makes it easy to advocate, it makes it easy to educate, it makes it a lot of fun and truly, truly a unique experience. When you find home online. And yeah, so that’s, that’s why I continue to show up, it’s home. I feel like you know, of course, I have my, my familial home and like California is where I’ve been born. And I was raised here, and I’m here my adulthood, and I’m raising a child here. But online, you know, I’ve also been able to create home and family and so yeah, well,
Bailey Bouwman 16:07
let’s talk about what you learned about those lows, because you, unfortunately had a little bit of an internet scandal. Yeah, I mean, you got kind of dragged through the mud. It was a rough time in your life. And we’ve talked about that. How did you? How did you come out the other side of it, we don’t see a lot of brands come out the other side, when they kind of get taken down by an Internet Group. What What would be your advice to somebody who does maybe get into a situation where they get a lot of bad feedback on the internet, and people are saying, Don’t ever shop with your brand. But you hang out the other side, and you’re doing amazing things. And I love to kind of share a little bit about how you’ve come to be Deja and 2021 2022?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 16:57
And, you know, really, the biggest the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in highs and lows, because I’m having a few seasons, I think the season in 2019 was the worst that I’ve dealt with being overwhelmed and having to basically stop myself, take accountability and figure out what I was going to do moving forward. I think the the biggest thing when you’re building a business is trial and error. And I think that that is a lot of the times what people have seen as, quote unquote, scammy behavior. I live in California, is one of the most expensive states in the United States. And I’m looking to relocate, it’s on my adulting list because it is astronomical at this point. But my cost of living is high. So that already puts a target on my back because they’re like, Oh, your prices. Oh, so it makes people weird off the bat, a fan when are releasing things that other people aren’t. And then you start to get a reputation for having these unique designs that everybody wants to get want to get their hands on. But they can’t get their hands on because they sell out so quickly. You stop and you pull back like literally from October 2017 and to October 2018. For a year straight. I was selling out of diapers in less than two minutes. Ah, and
Bailey Bouwman 18:36
it’s almost overwhelming. Like if I was to be a seamstress selling diapers, I would be like, I don’t know if myself,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 18:42
right, it was it was insane. Only was I selling out that I was selling out. And then I was turning around and having to email people who had I had oversold and people are like there’s no way for selling in two minutes. It happened on a large scale. And they’re like, I want to keep my order. I’ve been trying for a year to buy from your shop, what can I do. And so I’m just like I got you I’ll fulfill your order that puts you in a bit of a situation. And then the situation that puts you in is you have released a collection. You sewn all these diapers, your fabric is gone. You started to purchase for the next because this is basically what I was doing. Sorry to already purchased for the next launch. And now you have all of these customers who are adamant that they want their diaper and they don’t matter. They don’t care how long they have to wait. They don’t care what they have to do. This is what they want.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 19:41
And so it puts you in the mindset of like pleasing and wanting to be accepted wanting to be celebrated wanting to keep this reputation of being this hard to acquire brand, this popular brand and it kind of put me into a situation where when 2018 closed out. I said I wanted to do something different. And so I was like, Okay, I don’t know what to do. So I’m gonna consult a business coach. And so that’s what I did in the beginning was 2019. I consulted a business coach. And we she looked at my number, she asked me what my issues were. I also went and talked to Shopify, and they told me, you know, Asia, you have the capacity to earn X amount of dollars, you have the capacity to be this bigger business, you just need more inventory. So in my mind, I’m like, Okay, how do I set that up.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 20:39
So in essence, in 2019, I opened my business up to me to order diapers. And it took an edge off a custom because I wasn’t customizing every little detail, which is more time intensive. It was this is the set design, this is how many units I have this is how long you have to purchase it. Or this is a permanent design. And so when I launched that in a brand new pricing skill, which was controversial all in and of itself, because people were literally and this is going to be like, Oh my gosh, she’s lost her mind to some people at $2. For an embroidered all in one. People were paying for it like it was a $5 alva baby diaper. When I say when I opened my site the first day, to the new scale. And I literally made five figures and 45 minutes, I didn’t realize the gravity of how big my brand actually was, and what my
Bailey Bouwman 21:49
answer seemed like I, I consider myself a fairly well off as a family. But sometimes when I look at an $82 diaper, have a hard time with that conversation. But I’m glad that somebody put you a little bit in your spot told you what you’re worth,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 22:07
right? People People loved it. Um, and I had to have a situation where I cut off orders at a certain point, so that I would stay on track, I hire your one woman machine, hey, one, one machine. And at that point, when you’re earning because I was doing weekly releases of new diapers, so when you’re earning a certain amount of money, and a certain amount of orders are coming in hiring is imminent. So I hired a online assistant and an in person assistance. And when I did that, it shifted me very quickly into a leader role, which is like, when you go from being a one woman shop to being like a boss. It’s like,
Bailey Bouwman 22:52
well, if my entire pile of how to lead books that I bought from the library, because I’m terrified of doing that
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 23:01
is insane. And I just push through, and I said I’m going to make it work. And I did. I made it work in January. And in February and in March, and in April, and in May, and in June, and it was working. diapers were going out the door. I literally one time didn’t realize, you know, you realize how many orders you have. And then when you take them on to the post office, you need several people to take them with you and you jam shut the thing. It’s like, oh, this is serious. Like this is huge. This is big. And
Bailey Bouwman 23:36
the industry seven, eight years you didn’t realize but you were serious?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 23:41
Listen, I think that when you’re and when you are a brand, and you are working in the industry, and you’re working and it’s a passion project, you’re just like, oh my gosh, I’m selling these diapers, you go viral. Sometimes you’re just like, Oh, hey, people love me. But then it didn’t register how much people supported and like read, like supporting me and my branch it didn’t hit until it hit. And then once it hit, it was just like, whoa. And I started getting requests for like podcast interviews and like this and that and this and that and it just picked up really, really fast.
Bailey Bouwman 24:22
took me so long to get a hold of you?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 24:24
Yes. And so the thing the thing for me was, you know, okay, let me pause because I realized I was like three or four weeks behind. It hit me I was like, Okay, there’s no way I’m getting that stack of diapers out at the same time this stack of diapers is supposed to be out. Let me pause. Let me pause production for all of July so I can get caught up. And I kept my seamstress assistant on went to hire another one and the first one Quit saying that it wasn’t what she wanted to do. And when she quit, and I tried to acquire another one, my virtual assistant, I brought her on full full time. So she can basically take over as much of the online side as she could, so I can be offline into so. And I never hired another person.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 25:23
Before I knew it, money was dwindling. My own personal bills, business bills, everything was piling up, because I wasn’t consistently bringing in the money. Like when you’re smaller on a scale, and you’re handmade, every single week of sales propels to the next week of sales. And so you know, money wise, I’ve never dealt with that much money before ever in my life. I’m talking about, like, I was just I, I cried from being so overwhelmed with how much support there was.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 25:55
But also I was scared, I was just like, whoa, I’ve never seen this kind of money, this kind of growth. I even asked my mom, and she’s, you know, assistant principal, she makes a decent amount of money every year, but she was just like, I wouldn’t even know what to tell you. And so literally, mentally, I collapsed. And there was nothing, there was nothing that anybody could have said or done at that point, where I was, that would have pulled me out of it. I literally just had to go through that situation. And so
Bailey Bouwman 26:33
I’m going to cut you off in that last week, I was at a women’s conference and the leader of a Haisla nation of Crystal Smith spoke, and she said a phrase, which made me think about watching your journey. And it was that her role and her community and her leadership experience. She, her best advice is growing through what you go through. And that you have to you have to go through a lot of things.
Bailey Bouwman 26:57
But sometimes those are the things that are enough force you to grow. Right, and are really important. And that I was thinking, I’ve watched Asia grow through so much of her journey to where she’s at today. Yeah, so you had that little I mean, I guess 20, the end of 2019 kind of crumble, and then a pandemic hits. So you kind of know what feels like, it looks like we’re coming up to a double whammy Deja,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 27:23
Bailey Bouwman 27:25
I’m just I’m seeing the future.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 27:29
Definitely a very dark time, it was dark, especially because the home that I was living in, I was still I was living with my mom. And the home that I was living in, the owner wanted to sell it because we are renting. And on top of that, I ended up living a couple months in a hotel. So here I am in the midst of like,
Bailey Bouwman 27:54
living in a hotel?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 27:56
This pandemic of my business really, like everything was crumbling, there was so much being said online, and I like was fighting to charge my phone. And so I didn’t have time, nor did I have the desire or the mental fortitude to like respond to any of it. So I just left it alone, I literally just walked away and focused on what my responsibilities were. And that was answering to my customers. And so that’s what I did, I literally sewed and I sold, and I sold some more. And I sent out refunds. And I added names to a refund list. And I sold some more and I said double and triple orders out because I had overlapped other orders and people got double and triple I was like just keep them like I literally had to dig myself out was bloody knuckles, and a face full of like what had crumbled and fixate. And so I worked really, really, really, really hard to do so, you know, in some circles, and in some situations, some communities it’s irreparable, nobody ever will come back together with me.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 29:12
They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to talk about it. They’re done. And so that also forced me into a deeper space of accountability because it’s just like, you know, intentions are major. But impact can be so much more of a have a situation like my my intentions, of course wasn’t a scam.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 29:38
On a large level. My intentions were to serve on a large level to give people what they were asking for. And that was more of what I had and what I offered as a brand and put my impact was ultimately chaos and then when people also don’t let It just, you know, snowballs into something that, you know, you just can’t, you can only fix from your position. And so that’s what ended up doing.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 30:10
And also, at that time period, I started to sleep a lot. And I started to sleep three, four times a day, I had really, really hard times keeping my energy up. I was just like, Okay, I’m depressed, like, okay, it’s fine. I’m just gonna push through. Also, of course, I’m depressed. Look at this situation. And so
Bailey Bouwman 30:35
I like, all these things against you, right? Like, of course, I’m gonna be tired,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 30:39
right? And so I just kept going, I was just like, okay, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, until it got to the point where I could barely function.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 30:48
And at the point where I could barely function, I was sick all the time in 2020. And I had a extremely hard time doing anything. And if you look back at my social media feed in 2020, it’s basically non existent. I posted in my stories to basically let people know I was still there. That was my way of saying, I’m here. And I want to be here, but I’m not here.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 31:16
And so I’m, in September of 2020, I got I got sick, I got a fever, a really high fever, and I didn’t know what was going on. And then I developed an abscess. And once I developed that abscess, it grew to a really, really scary thing. And I was just like, Okay, well, I’m just gonna go to the ER, I’m sure it’s just from my depression. Like, they all this has to be depression related, like it has to be because I messed up. And at this point, I’m in a self pity, like bubble like, Oh, my God. So my health, you know, of course, it’s gonna crumble. And but when I went in, I, they ran a whole bunch of tests, and my glucose levels were in the 400, almost a 500. My blood pressure was extremely high, I think it was like 167 over 107, or something really, really astronomical. And. And then they took an x ray and literally saw that I was septic. And that something was going on in my body. And it was that I literally was like, heading towards diabetic ketosis. And so in September, last year, I had to go to emergency surgery. They
Bailey Bouwman 32:41
Wow, learned to take care of yourself. Again, hey,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 32:44
right. And I had to have like, wound care nurse, like, do a diabetic clinic and check in it’s all during a pandemic. So it’s just like, Yeah, I’m doing virtual appointments, in person appointments, and my son is at home. And it’s just like, so many things.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 33:05
And the cloth diaper community is mad at me, rightfully so. But I want to be back with the community because that’s my home.
Bailey Bouwman 33:14
And I’m like, why are you still here? Its your home.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 33:19
Bailey Bouwman 33:20
Oh, I’m glad to have you. It’s not a critique. to have you here.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 33:28
Once I recovered, though, um, I, in about November of last year, I decided, because I’m so angry. As he goes mad at myself, I was mad at myself, I was so mad at myself. And I just was this angry person. And this every little urging that I really did not recognize, I just was like, okay, like, people associate me with sunshine, which is where my brand name came from.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 33:56
And I’m tired of being this mad person, like, I have to get to the root of what is going on. Physically. Now, I don’t even have to take a nap. If I don’t want to. I had to take a nap before then five times a day. So physically, I was. Well, well on my way to being better. And but I was just like, mentally and emotionally. I am a mess.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 34:19
And so I went to therapy. And I think that therapy is a huge reason why I’m here. And in the industry, steel, and um, you know, my therapist just taught me some really big lessons. Like, we make mistakes. That’s, that’s like, the biggest one because she was just like, you know, your intention was to do something great. Like something that few people get to do. And then people are scared of doing and you still want to do it. That’s major.
Bailey Bouwman 34:59
I think that’s a lot have us forget. Yeah, people’s intentions, a lot of people’s intentions are good. It’s actually an interesting perspective that I’ve been recently taking on. Some of the big groups out there, like fluff loves intention is good.
Bailey Bouwman 35:17
I hear that I hear the bad stories all the time. But I mean, at the core, their intention is good. They want to support parents and get there. So it’s maybe a little, I need to reevaluate my relationship with that. Yeah. And we can probably all go through that growth throughout the entire community of evaluating. I mean, some people do come in with the intent to scam. But I think it’s a lot rarer than we, this. Right,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 35:46
Bailey Bouwman 35:47
. It’s, we all come with good intentions. And then Sometimes life happens and life is not nice. All.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 35:55
Right. And I think that she also told me that, you know, mindset is huge, like I have, in the past, most definitely been in a fixed mindset, and a scarcity mindset and a poverty mindset.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 36:11
Like I said, I had never seen that kind of money before. I used to think that every single person was my competition. I used to, like, have this mindset that I had to lock down, like, protect myself, like people had my worst, like, my worst interests at heart, like, I literally had to grow out of the mindset that like, people didn’t want to see me win. And that I wasn’t worthy of doing so. And so like, I think that taking on all of the work that I did in 2019, was a lack of patience, I saw this huge opportunity to grow. And like I saw people showing up and being excited about my brand. And I got excited and carried away. Because I thought, you know, if I don’t jump on this, this opportunity is going to vanish, because it’s scarce. And that just isn’t the truth.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 37:08
And so I think that therapy truly has been the key to me, taking a step back, slowing down, being more grateful, being accountable for my actions, I can’t just go at full speed. And then when I fall apart, physically or emotionally or mentally, you know, even though I have mental health challenges, chronic health issues, it’s my responsibility still to be accountable to myself and to other people, you know, for what I put out there as brand. And so I just honestly told myself that I’m going to show up, and I’m going to give it another go. So that’s what I’ve been doing every single month. And my goal this year was to be consistent, was to release ready to ship diapers that people loved, was to have no customer service issues. And I’ve only had two customer service issues that I’ve had to rectify. And those were one was shipping and it had nothing to do with me. And the other one was function problem. And I just sent her the whole lineup in was just like my bad.
Bailey Bouwman 38:15
Okay, so you only have one like shipping was not shipping is not your fault. You’ve only got one US is and unfortunately you have to deal with it. Right like girl girl girl like
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 38:27
that was exciting, because it’s just like, oh, I have to ship diapers. So here take the whole line. No problem. Like this was on me.
Bailey Bouwman 38:35
Always wanting my diaper. I got I got DMS like every month like Are you ready to sell that yet? Are you ready to give it? I’m like, no. But thank you for asking.
Bailey Bouwman 38:48
People love your products. They’re so excited about it. So tell me like, I mean, you’ve mentioned a few different styles of diapers but today in the shine shop, Shine cloth, you won’t you’re only really selling the diaper cover correct and oversized and petite size is not part of this, this new era of shine and kind of respecting some boundaries for yourself. Right?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 39:12
I love pocket diapers, the function I hate sewing them. I love all in one diapers and the function but in order to compensate for the time that a quality all in one takes. People have to pay a lot of money. And I personally just seemed like it is okay. We can try to work
Bailey Bouwman 39:33
at home on one one. So it was like $47 Canadian. A lot of money. No wonder why manufacturers really do. It’s like it’s a lot of steps in the process.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 39:46
It is. Yeah. And so I’ve always when I did the I don’t know if you know this but I did the cloth diaper flash challenge in 2011 or 1211. I think so. And, and I was sponsored by swaddle bees, and was the Swaddlebees,
Bailey Bouwman 40:06
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 40:07
blueberry. And, and I made a covers for the challenge. And when I did that I fell in love with covers in flux. And so that is kind of the thought process here I shine, I make a heavy, a heavy organic snap in insert, which I never can keep in stock people are obsessed with. Um,
Bailey Bouwman 40:33
and I was like, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that on your website,
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 40:37
I always felt like no matter how many I make, which is a good thing. And also, I released a trifold because people said they wanted something faster drying. And I’m getting the same feedback. They’re obsessed with it. So that was the wave that I’m on because I feel like those, those types of divers take the least amount of time to produce. And I can make a quality product in a smaller amount of time, which is key right now for me. And yeah, so you know, I also am 11 years in, I have bruises on my fingertips and calluses and I have seamstress nails, which means like my nail polishes always chip in my nose are always cracking from sewing and putting snaps on.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 41:27
So I am excited to like walk away from the sewing machine. So I am working on some things behind the scenes that I don’t talk about, which I’m really, really excited about. And I truly like feel like I’m here, not only to sew diaper, I really feel like I’m put here to motivate people to not give up and to keep trying that anybody can successfully accomplish a goal or a dream or a aspiration. In this time that I’ve been in business. I’m getting my bachelor’s degree. I literally Yeah, I that was a long term goal. It took me nine years, but I did. And
Bailey Bouwman 42:09
taught me like seven. So like, it’s not easy. I mean, that’s like one of those things, when a lot of us start a business as early teach us how to do that ever. And so you got to figure that out. And then yeah, how to sew, and you also got to figure out marketing and customer service and do all the other things that you also want to do in your life.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 42:36
Right. And that’s what I’m excited about. I’m excited to like, step out from behind the sewing machine and like teach people how to do it themselves and like to also teach people that like, you know, mindset is everything. And that, you know, we don’t you there’s no scarcity of resources, no matter who tries to paint a picture a certain way you can have everything that you want in this life. And so I told my son every single year from the time that he was, like three or four that by the time he graduated from the fifth grade, we would have a house and we would have a dog. And I said it every single year. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t know what it was going to take. But it happened. And I literally went from like living in a roach infested apartment to like having a house. I rent it. It’s not mine. But that could be a possibility.
Bailey Bouwman 43:36
I mean, unfortunately, you live in Los Angeles, like not necessarily the best place for house ownership.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 43:44
That’s something I’m working on though, because you know, that’s a whole nother conversation. Let me in California.
Bailey Bouwman 43:50
Yesterday, I was talking to Maddie at permanent diaper relief, I called her up to chat about a project that I’m working on. And she was like, You know what my goal is Bailey. My goal is to be replaceable. And I was like, What? What are you talking about batty. I don’t want to be replaceable.
Bailey Bouwman 44:09
And she was like, Yeah, I want the organization that I’m working with the people around me to be so amazing that if I was to get hit by a bus tomorrow, we would thrive. I want to instill leaders and creators and everybody that we can still keep going if I don’t exist. I’ve been thinking about that sense. And I think some of what you were talking about too, like I you you almost want to be replaceable.
Bailey Bouwman 44:35
You want other people in your industry to be doing what you’re doing because there is no scarcity, scarcity. We can all do this right? We can all be masters or seamstresses.
Bailey Bouwman 44:46
And sometimes that sharing and that connecting is an empowerment of others is really the end goal right. So there’s a lot to think about. I am so excited to hear that you have big plans coming and watch you I think I, I got caught up in that 2019 era and seeing people talk about you on the internet and, and then but I was also in a growth mindset at that time and learning to kind of challenge what I was hearing and what I’m being told and to watch you over the last few years Deja, three years has been an incredible honor from afar. You have done big, amazing, beautiful things in our industry. And I think an incredible black woman for others to look up to.
Bailey Bouwman 45:36
We are seeing such like growth in that black cloth diaper industry. And I, you’re probably one of those reasons for that. Can you speak to your experiences, I imagine a lot of what just happened was probably impacted like double whammy because you are a woman of color. Hey, yeah. Are you seeing a better experience? Has things changed? Are there things that maybe you would love to see happen this year? More? Yeah.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 46:08
You know, it’shard. I always say to the people closest to me, it’s hard to be a black woman in the cloth, diaper industry, and the cloth diaper community and not be accepted by the black cloth diaper community. And so sometimes I feel like an outsider, or a competitor versus a community member. And that’s hard. Because, you know, I say, Hey,
Bailey Bouwman 46:36
do you think that’s your perception, though? Or do you think that’s your reality?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 46:41
I think maybe it’s a little bit of both, I think because
Bailey Bouwman 46:44
sometimes I don’t feel like I’m involved or included in the blogging community. Nobody wants to be my friend. But that’s the perception, it’s not the reality.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 46:53
I think what I really think is in the black community, and just as a whole, especially in business, we tend to, you know, want to disassociate or create space with other business owners that are going through a hard time, because we don’t want to be dragged down by their hard time. And so I think it’s half and half, I think probably, there’s a lot more people who are rooting for me than I realized, I think there’s a lot more people who are kind of weary of my situation, because they don’t really know it. And I also think that there’s some people who just don’t want anything to do with it, because they want to have a certain perception in the industry, of being apart from me. And so I think it’s a combination, but I’m not closed off to like, that changing. And I
Bailey Bouwman 47:48
really, it’s probably one of those things that like, if you’re willing to come to the conversation with a growth mindset, I’m willing to come to the conversation with a growth mindset, right, and we can do this together. Or we cannot.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 48:02
Right? And you know, I always, I always no matter what the history has been, especially around this time of year, because it is closer to like the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we gained, I always tend to share, which I still will do this year, all the black cloth diapering brands that I’m knowledgeable of, and then ask people to tag anybody that I’ve missed, because there are a couple of new ones that I’ve gotten wind of um,
Bailey Bouwman 48:30
yeah, I have a conversation with Candace Owen of twisted tushies.?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 48:38
Yes, something around.
Bailey Bouwman 48:40
It’s no, it’s no, and I haven’t not super familiar yet. Yeah, there’s new women coming up every day. Yes.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 48:49
Yeah. And so, um, yeah, most definitely, I’m excited about like the newer the newer brands, but I most definitely will be sharing. Most definitely will be tagging them in my story. And I usually make a post around this year to you know, shop. black owned, or personal color owned. And so that post most definitely will be coming for me as usual.
Bailey Bouwman 49:14
Make sure to find it and share it.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 49:17
Yeah, but I just I most definitely want to see in 2022, a strong united front. You don’t have to be like the best of friends is this not on the table, but most definitely like a strong support system of, Hey, there’s this black owned brand that does this very, very well. Go check them out and like having that rapport with each other and like coming together as a black cloth diapering community, and like truly educating our community because there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s huge. It’s huge. And so, you know, I have no problem, like standing out as a leader in the industry, but I most definitely value a community. And so I want to Make sure that that’s something that happens. So I’m gonna do everything in my power to
Bailey Bouwman 50:04
make sure it does what we wrapped us up. Where can people find you? Deja we’ve been chatting for such a long time. If people want to go find your diapers, you do have diapers in stock right now you’ve kind of holding a good little in stocks. It’s not fast fingers. But where can we find you on the internet online shop?
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 50:23
Yeah, so um, my website is shine cloth.com And until that under Shine Cloth Instagram, the shine club and Facebook underShine Cloth And
Bailey Bouwman 50:37
I mean, I shine cloth is a pretty generic term, I tried googling it. And sometimes you don’t always show up because it’s like, I want to show off all these other sunshiny things. You’re like no.
Deja, Shine Cloth Diapers 50:47
Shining gloves? Definitely you probably if you ever Google you’ll have to right shine to diaper or shine off Black Lives Matter day. And then that typically, is when you’ll find like okay, and yeah, so um, I really appreciate you having me to share my story. I don’t think I’ve ever shared what has gone on so
Bailey Bouwman 51:12
I mean, yeah, I wasn’t actually expecting you to share it all. I was mostly curious how you come out the other end but thank you for sharing it. Dasia
Professional Cloth Diaper Educator
Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.
Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.
Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.
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About the Cloth Diaper Podcast
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is a regular podcast sharing stories from cloth diaper parents, brands and retailers from around the world.
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is not affiliated with any school of thought of diaper laundry but instead focus on the power of peer-to-peer story telling to empower you to make your own cloth diaper journey.
Cloth Diapering is not this or that, but rather many different experiences.
Cloth Diaper Podcast is located in Northern BC, Canada on the traditional territories of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nations. Black Lives Matter. Every Child Matters. & We are strong advocates for radical change as requested by those who experience social injustice. Listen first.
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